Chilean and Argentine Andes / Fuegian and Patagonian Andes: Dry and Wet Andes (Argentina, Chile)

Chilean and Argentine Andes / Fuegian and Patagonian Andes: Dry and Wet Andes (Argentina, Chile)

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 20:46

The Chilean Andes and Argentine Andes form most of the border between Chile and Argentina, making up the highest section of the Andes range. The Dry Andes, Wet Andes, Patagonian Andes and Fuegian Andes are climatic and glaciological subdivisions.

Chilean Andes and Argentine Andes

The Chilean Andes and Argentine Andes, part of the greater Andes Mountain System, form most of the border between the countries of Chile and Argentina and make up the highest section of the mountain range.

The highest mountain in the Americas, Cerro Aconcagua, rises to 6,961 m (22,838 ft) above sea level in Mendoza, Argentina.

The landscape of these mountains, along the border between Chile and Argentina, is dominated by volcanoes and associated landforms.

In the high Andes of central Chile and Mendoza Province, rock glaciers are larger and more common than glaciers due to increased exposure to solar radiation.

The Andes Mountains play a vital role in the weather for both Chile and Argentina, with the two sides of the Andes exhibiting significant climatic differences.

    Significant mountain peaks of the Chilean Andes include:

    • Acamarachi, c.6,046 m (19,836 ft)

    • Cerro Castillo Dynevor, c.1,100 m (3,609 ft)

    • Cerro Paine Grande, 2,884 m (9,462 ft)

    • Cerro Macá, c.2,300 m (7,546 ft)

    • Monte Darwin, c.2,500 m (8,202 ft)

    • Monte San Valentin, 4,058 m (13,314 ft)

    • Mount Tarn, c.825 m (2,707 ft)

    • Polleras, c.5,993 m (19,662 ft)

    • Volcan Hudson, c.1,900 m (6,234 ft)

    Significant mountain peaks of the Argentine Andes include:

    • Aconcagua, 6,961 m (22,838 ft) - the highest mountain in the Americas

    • Cerro Bonete, 6,759 m (22,175 ft)

    • Galán, 5,912 m (19,396 ft)

    • Mercedario, 6,720 m (22,047 ft)

    • Pissis, 6,795 m (22,293 ft)

    Significant mountain peaks on the border between Argentina and Chile include:

    • Cerro Bayo, 5,401 m (17,720 ft)

    • Cerro Fitz Roy, 3,405 m (11,171 ft), also known as Cerro Chaltén

    • Cerro Escorial, 5,447 m (17,871 ft)

    • Cordón del Azufre, 5,463 m (17,923 ft)

    • Falso Azufre, 5,890 m (19,324 ft)

    • Incahuasi, 6,620 m (21,719 ft)

    • Lastarria, 5,697 m (18,691 ft)

    • Llullaillaco, 6,739 m (22,110 ft)

    • Maipo, 5,264 m (17,270 ft)

    • Marmolejo, 6,110 m (20,046 ft)

    • Nacimiento, 6,492 m (21,299 ft)

    • Nevado Tres Cruces, 6,748 m (22,139 ft) - south summit, III Region

    • Ojos del Salado, 6,893 m (22,615 ft)

    • Olca, 5,407 m (17,740 ft)

    • Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas, 6,127 m (20,102 ft)

    • Socompa, 6,051 m (19,852 ft)

    • Tronador, 3,491 m (11,453 ft)

    • Tupungato, 6,570 m (21,555 ft)

    The Chilean Andes and Argentine Andes can be divided into two climatic and glaciological zones: the Dry Andes and the Wet Andes. Furthermore, the Wet Andes can be separated geographically into the Patagonian Andes and Fuegian Andes.

    Fuegian Andes

    The Fuegian Andes are the southernmost subdivision of the Wet Andes and the overall Andes Mountain System. They begin on Estados Island, the eastern point of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, reaching approximately 1,100 m (3,700 ft) asl. They then run west through Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, reaching about 2,400 m (7,900 ft) in elevation.

    In the Fuegian Andes, glacial action and wind have created large areas of bare rock. As a result, peat bogs, acidic and meadow soils with thick humus layers, and poor soil drainage are found here.

    Patagonian Andes

    The Patagonian Andes rise just north of the Strait of Magellan. Numerous transverse and longitudinal depressions and breaches cut this wild and rugged portion of the Andes, sometimes completely; ice fields, glaciers, rivers, lakes or fjords occupy many ranges.

    The Patagonian Andes occupy approximately 300,000 sq km (115,800 sq mi). The highest point is Cerro San Valentin at 4,058 m (13,314 ft) asl.

    Dry Andes

    The Dry Andes is a climatic and glaciological subregion of the Andes mountain system. Together with the Wet Andes, it is one of the two subregions of the Argentine and Chilean Andes.

    The Dry Andes extend from the Atacama Desert in northern Chile and northwest Argentina, south to a latitude of 35°S in Chile: the area of the Maule River in the Central Valley. In Argentina, the Dry Andes reach 40°S due to the leeward effect of the Andes.

    Though precipitation increases with height, semiarid conditions persist in the Andes' nearly 7,000 m (23,000 ft) mountains. This dry steppe climate is considered to be of the subtropic type at 32-34° S. In the valley bottoms, only dwarf scrubs grow.

    The largest glaciers, e.g., the Plomo Glacier and the Horcones Glacier, do not reach 10 km (6.2 mi) in length, and the ice thickness is not very significant. During glacial times, however, c. 20,000 years ago, the glaciers were over ten times longer.

    Wet Andes

    The Wet Andes is one of the two Argentine and Chilean Andes subregions. The Wet Andes run from a latitude of 35°S in Chile (40°S in Argentina) to Cape Horn at 56°S.

    The Wet Andes can be classified as the absence of penitentes (snow formations found at high altitudes), which form elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun. In Argentina, well-developed penitentes are south of the Lanín Volcano (40°S).

    The glaciers of the Wet Andes have far more stability than those of the Dry Andes due to summer precipitation, low thermal oscillation and an overall high moisture level.

    Map of the climatic regions of the Andes

    Map of the climatic regions of the Andes: Dry Andes in yellow, Wet Andes in blue and Tropical Andes in green